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Aberdeen Travel Guide

About Aberdeen

Aberdeen is Scotland's third largest city, balancing 8,000 years of history with a modern-day role as an oil industry powerhouse.

While Glasgow and Edinburgh might outrank it in size and style, a trip to Aberdeen today reveals somewhere with a modern pulse, strong heritage and a lively cultural scene. The country's largest national park and an imposing coastline both sit nearby. Aberdeen has become a city worth exploring in its own right.

Built on the banks of the rivers Dee and Don, Aberdeen is widely known as The Granite City - a reference to the hardy, silvery rock used in much of its iconic architecture. On sunny days, the city's buildings sparkle.

The heart of Old Aberdeen lies across the Brig O'Balgownie (one of the oldest bridges in Britain), and it's here that you'll find the 500-year-old King's College and its famous dome-crowned tower.

Elsewhere, prominent sights include the neo-gothic Town House in Union Street, the castellated Citadel on Castlegate, and the striking Marischal College on Broad Street.

Aberdeen's other face – that of the "Oil Capital of Europe" – comes thanks to the discovery of North Sea oil back in the 1970s, followed by gas. It helped transform the city from one of the poorest in the UK to one of the richest.

As a result of local transport, accommodation, and businesses improving, the airport and port expanded. A cosmopolitan vibe, busy arts calendar and buzzing café culture began to accompany the city's rise in fortunes. Annual festivals cover everything from jazz to science, while the dining scene now ranges from traditional tearooms to high-end restaurants.

The region has welcomed other visitor developments too. Donald Trump controversially opened a £1 billion golf complex, (the 'world's greatest golf course'), in Aberdeenshire in 2012, with a championship links course, a luxury hotel, and a golf academy.

Key facts

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Featured Hotels


Marcliffe Hotel and Spa

This celebrated 5-star hotel sits in verdant grounds. Its beautifully appointed rooms have paintings, antique furniture, and TV. The Conservatory chefs specialise in Grampian produce - Aberdeen Angus beef and game with fish and shellfish from local rivers and ports. The wine cellar has over 400 wines, and the Drawing Room bar has more than 100 malt whiskies.

Roselea Hotel

The Roselea is housed in a listed Aberdonian granite house built in the mid 19th century. This is a friendly, family-run guesthouse situated close to bus and rail links and the ferry terminal for Orkney and Shetland Islands ferries. Every bedroom has a TV and tea/coffee-making facilities.

Craighaar Hotel

An award-winning hotel located just off the A96 provides easy links to the City centre and Aberdeen Airport. Enjoy a luxurious experience at an affordable price.

Skene House Suites

Skene House Suites are serviced apartments that offer an affordable alternative, particularly for groups. Prices are per suite, per night, so the larger suites become great value for money if shared by a few people. The suites are all located in the centre of Aberdeen and are all well appointed and individually designed.

Chester Hotel

Perhaps the smartest hotel address in town is this handsome 19th-century granite villa on Queens Road. Their Classic and Grand guest rooms have muted colours and intelligent en-suites, while two lavish Clubrooms occupy the entire top floor. Facilities include sumptuous dining, a bar with booths, and over 60 treatments in its IX Beauty Centre.

Park Inn by Radisson

This reliable Radisson hotel in the city centre uses modern architecture to blend in wonderfully with the Granite City surroundings. With 185 rooms to choose from, plus all mod cons and that Radisson stamp of quality, the Park Inn is the best mid-range chain option in Aberdeen.